Will my child support case be closed and I won’t have to pay anymore because my income is below poverty level?
I am unable to tell from your question whether your child support order was issued by the state of Maine or Pennsylvania. I do not practice in Maine or Pennsylvania. Therefore, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of Maine or Pennsylvania. Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers in Pennsylvania who would be happy to arrange a consultation.
It is unlikely that your obligation to pay child support would be reduced to $0, and the your child support case “closed” with the state child support agency, even if your income falls below poverty level and/or that of the mother.
Most states have a formula they use when calculating child support based on the parties’ incomes. DadsDivorce.com provides a child support calculator, but keep in mind it only provides rough estimates.
Even when the noncustodial parent becomes unemployed or their income falls below the poverty level, or below that which the custodial parent earns or receives, the noncustodial parent is usually required to pay at least some percentage of their income, or a minimum dollar figure, as child support.
The theory is that both parents have a duty to support the child, and no matter how little you earn, at least some portion of that income should go towards the support of the child. Even in the event you are able to claim an exceptional hardship, and the support payments become temporarily suspended, your case will most likely still remain open, as the agency will attempt to increase your child support once you do become more gainfully employed.
Rachel A. Brucks is a Staff Attorney in the Fort Worth, Texas office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Brucks is licensed in the state of Texas. Ms. Brucks received her Bachelors degrees in English and Political Science from the University of Texas at Arlington. She received her Masters in Literature and Gender Studies from Texas State University, San Marcos; and received her Juris Doctor from Southern Methodists University, Dallas.